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Mobile Payments

VW to buy PayByPhone for undisclosed sum

Wednesday 28 December 2016 | 12:09 PM CET

Volkswagen Financial Services AG has announced plans to acquire PayByPhone, a Vancouver-based company that allows people to pay for certain parking spaces by mobile apps, phone calls or texts.

PayByPhone, founded in 2000, says it processes USD 300 million in transactions annually.

Volkswagen wants access to proven technology to connect a variety of commerce opportunities and vendors to the cabin of a car and passengers looking for easier payment methods. Whereas it is difficult to earn even a 10% profit margin on the sale of a car, some analysts and startup entrepreneurs estimate the margins that auto makers could reap on the selling of access to car owners and their data could exceed 75%.

The two companies confirmed the deal but Volkswagen officials could not immediately be reached for further comment.

The move comes shortly after the German auto giant launched its “Moia” division, a 50-person unit based in Berlin and created to compete in ride-sharing and other so-called mobility services. Earlier this year, Volkswagen invested USD 300 million in Tel-Aviv-based Gett, which competes with Uber’s ride-hailing service.

PayByPhone says it has agreements with “many of the largest and most complex parking operations in the world.” The company handles payments for a total of 262,000 spaces in Paris, Boston, London, San Francisco and Seattle, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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